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Tizdejavu Never Headed in Firecracker

Michael Cooper and Pamela Ziebarth’s Tizdejavu took the lead out of the gate and was never headed to win the 20th running of the $205,625 Firecracker Handicap (Grade II) by 1 ½ lengths over Public Speaker on Sunday to close out the 42-day Spring Meet at Churchill Downs and ruin the return of 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird who finished eighth in his turf debut.


Trained by Greg Fox and ridden by Jesus Castanon, Tizdejavu ran the mile on a firm Matt Winn Turf Course in 1:35.98, the fastest time of the meet at the distance. It was Tizdejavu’s fifth victory in six starts over the Matt Winn Turf Course with the only setback coming in a fifth-place finish in last year’s Firecracker.


Tizdejavu, now three-for-three in 2010, opened a daylight advantage the first time past the wire and led the field through uncontested fractions of :23.20, :45.94 and 1:09.73. At the head of the stretch, Tizdejavu kicked clear by 2 ½ lengths and was three lengths on top at the eighth pole and had more than enough left in the tank to hold off Public Speaker.


The victory was worth $116,016 and increased Tizdejavu’s earnings to $693,153 with a record of 16-8-3-2. The Firecracker was the fourth stakes victory at Churchill Downs for Tizdejavu, who won the American Turf (GIII) and Jefferson Cup (GII) in 2008 and took the Opening Verse earlier this meet.


Tizdejavu is a 5-year-old homebred son of Tiznow out of the Dixie Brass mare Remember When.


Mine That Bird became the first Kentucky Derby winner to return to race at Churchill Downs since 2005 Derby victor Giacomo finished fourth in the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI). Mine That Bird, ridden by Calvin Borel and carrying top weight of 122 pounds, trailed the field of 14 through the first half-mile and had only one horse beat turning for home before passing four rivals in the stretch to finish less than eight lengths behind Tizdejavu.


Tizdejavu, carrying second high weight of 119 pounds, returned $10.20, $5 and $3.60 as the second choice. Public Speaker, ridden by Robby Albarado, paid $4.60 and $3.80 and finished a nose in front of Inca King, who paid $4.20 to show under Victor Lebron.


Veiled Prophet finished fourth another 1 ¼ lengths back and was followed in order by Unbridle’s Dream, Skipadate, Wise River, Mine That Bird, Pop Tarrt, Attempted Humor, Driving Snow (GB), Baryshnikov, Euroears and Orthodox.


Borel, who rode three winners on closing day, won his first Spring Meet riding title with 52 victories with Corey Lanerie a distant second with 39 triumphs. Steve Asmussen took leading trainer honors by a 24-19 margin over Dale Romans and Maggi Moss won the leading owner title by sending out nine winners this meet, two more than Ken and Sarah Ramsey.


Racing returns to Churchill Downs on Sunday, Oct. 31 for a 20-day Fall Meet that will be highlighted by the returning of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships to the track on Nov. 5 and 6. Simulcast wagering at Churchill Downs will continue through Monday and shift to Trackside Louisville at 4520 Poplar Level Road starting Wednesday, July 7 through Wednesday, Aug. 4 so track officials can prepare the 147-acre facility for the inaugural HullabaLOU Music Festival on July 23-25.




JESUS CASTANON (jockey, TIZDEJAVU, winner): “I made him run his own race. I knew there was going to be a lot of pace at the beginning. He was running the race pretty easily. When I asked him to pick it up he just drew away. I knew my horse has a lot of speed so I let him break and tried to get the lead and be clear through the first turn. He’s a very nice horse. I knew through the first turn I was in great shape. He really improves every time he comes to the races; he really has improved a lot. This time he just felt a 110 percent better than last time. Against this type of horses and with his speed he really gives me his best and I know he has plenty still left.”

GREG FOX (trainer, TIZDEJAVU, winner): “This race has been our goal, I mean hypothetically. We ended his season last year on a down note, but the beautiful thing is this is a very, very special horse. Giving him a break, and bringing him back steadily, you saw what he did today. He really threw the gauntlet down on a good group of horses. He’s won from the front on the hedge on (Kentucky) Oaks Day, and the Jefferson Cup. He loves this track and he loves the turns. Every horsemen’s dream (is to go to the Breeders’ Cup). This was a key race for the (Breeders’ Cup) Mile race. We had a great post position. Some of the other speed horses seemed hurt by the big field. (Jockey) Jesus (Castanon) is an incredibly astute rider and took advantage of our post position and of course the horse did the rest. I don’t think we are going to put him on the road this summer.”


ROBBY ALBARADO (jockey, PUBLIC SPEAKER, second): “I had a great trip. Just a nice horse beat me today. He ran hard.”


CALVIN BOREL (jockey, MINE THAT BIRD, eighth): “He was struggling so much. He kept moving back and forth, back and forth, switching leads. We will see a different horse after this, a totally different horse. He came back real good, jogging good. He was perfect, the horse is doing good. I’m telling you get him on the dirt and you’ll see a different horse.” 


D. WAYNE LUKAS (trainer, MINE THAT BIRD, eighth): “His first start back wasn’t a successful one, but I thought he would handle the turf a lot better than what he did. He didn’t handle it that well. I thought the first time by the grandstand he was climbing a little bit, and to have him back that far back … He was training too forwardly to have him that far back, but he finished up and got a little more comfortable the last three-eighths. I think it put us in a position to do something better. I was hoping to have a little better result for the owners, but I’m not discouraged that I can get him where I want him. I don’t think we are going to the Arlington Million. The Whitney (Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 7) is our goal. If we could have gotten that allowance race to go, I think it would have been a different story. I didn’t want to ship and we took a shot. It is what it is. I feel very comfortable in the mornings with what I see and we’ll show up in the Whitney.”





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Older Comments about Tizdejavu Never Headed in Firecracker...

My Tiznow's are about to get busy in the 2nd half the year.
Old D. Wayne just like he tired with Steinlen's abortive grass to dirt moves is trying to make the square peg fit the round hole again........

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